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Porsche Taycan: prepare for the rEVolution. Image by Porsche.

Porsche Taycan: prepare for the rEVolution
We've been up close and personal with Porsche's mighty electric Taycan.
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Newer articles featuring 2020 Porsche Taycan

2020-06-29: First drive: Porsche Taycan
2020-01-30: Porsche offers Taycan personalisation choices
2019-10-14: Cheaper Porsche Taycan 4S lands

What's all this about?

We've already brought you details on the interior of the Porsche Taycan electric vehicle, so now it's time to go full technical on you - and give you our impressions of how this incredible EV performs, following a full day of debriefing and a passenger ride in a pre-production model at the ADAC Grevenbroich test centre, just outside Düsseldorf.

Go on, then; where do we start?

How about with the main power details, model badging and drivetrain? On the middle score, you might be surprised to know that there are two launch models, which will be called... Turbo and Turbo S. Yep, despite the Taycan's conspicuous lack of an internal combustion engine, much less a turbocharger which could be attached to said ICE unit, Porsche feels customers understand the hierarchy of Turbo and Turbo S more clearly than trying to come up with any sort of electric-y alternatives (we dunno: Sparky and Sparkier, perhaps?). Both these launch cars have two motors and two gearboxes, one of each on either axle, leading to Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive which is up to five times faster reacting than a conventional AWD system. Nominally, they both kick out 460kW, which is 625hp. Plenty fulsome enough, you might think, but they both have Launch Control 'overboost' functions which can increase their outputs: thanks to it having slightly smaller electric motors, the Turbo rises to 505kW (687hp), while the Turbo S leaps to a simply colossal 560kW (761hp). These numbers are backed up by 850Nm of torque on the Turbo and 1,050Nm on the Turbo S; boof! All this considerable power is channelled to the wheels via the single-speed front, two-speed rear transmissions, the latter having two 'ratios' so that it has the most savage step-off acceleration possible and also longer setting for maximum efficiency/top speeds. Incidentally, both cars top out at (a limited) 162mph.

Good grief, that's some power! So what's acceleration like?

Ridiculous. The slightly lighter Turbo clocks in at 2,295kg, which is portly despite the fact it features a lot of aluminium (but no carbon fibre, for reasons of value-per-unit-built) in its make-up - yet it'll run 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds and 0-124mph in 10.6 seconds. The Turbo S, though; that's ferocious, as 0-62mph takes just 2.8 seconds and 0-124mph is done with in a mere 9.8 seconds. Apparently, the Turbo S is capable of a Nordschleife lap time that's well beneath the eight-minute barrier, while Porsche is proud of the repeatability of the performance: the Taycan will do Launch Control runs again and again and again, without any deterioration in its potency, for a lot longer than other EVs.

How so?

It has an 800-volt electrical system, rather than a 400-volt one. This feeds a 33-module lithium-ion battery pack, which - with 30 cells per module, resulting in 396 cells in total - has a rating of 93kWh, net 84kWh; the battery weighs 140kg and is an integral, load-bearing structure in the shell of the Taycan, which (incidentally) has an overall torsional rigidity of 42,000Nm/degree. The 800V set-up allows this battery to be charged at 270kW on 350kW/800V stations, such as the 400 sites Ionity will set up by 2020. This means it can suck down a 62-mile charge in a mere five minutes, WLTP ratified, or 80 per cent of its battery in a reasonable 22.5 minutes. An optional HV Booster allows it to also hook up to 400-volt charging stations (50- to 150kW) if needs be, of which there are currently more than 200,000 in the world and another 45,000 due to come on stream in America in the near future, while an 11kW onboard charger is used for home charging via a wallbox. Porsche says this will take six to eight hours and that up to 80 per cent of its customers will re-juice it this way almost all the time.

So what range will it do on a full charge?

The Turbo, anything between 240 and 281 miles; the S, from 242 to 261 miles.

That's... not a huge amount, is it?

No, but given the Taycan's power and performance, and the fact these are WLTP figures and likely to be truly attainable, they're pretty impressive.

Is that it for charging?

There are a few more details, such as the Taycan has two charging ports - an AC socket on the driver's side and an AC/DC CCS on the passenger side. These will switch according to LHD and RHD markets. It has various clever charging features, like timer settings, smartphone remote control and the ability to hook up to solar-generated energy, and a Blackout Protection system. This monitors your home's electrical phases, to ensure that if you turn on the washing machine or boil up your kettle while the Taycan is charging and you risk tripping your house into darkness, then it prevents that from happening by altering its charging rate. Oh, and while the standard flaps covering the ports operate in a regulation pop-out manual fashion on the Taycans, you can opt for electrically retracting doors over the charging sockets; these have small motors and slide up into the bodywork smoothly when required, while a cold-weather setting increases the motors' torque by 20 per cent and rocks the doors back and forth in the event they've been iced up. Clever.

It is indeed. Any stats on the physical size of the Taycan?

Despite the fact it has up to 761hp and 1,050Nm, this car is supposed to sit below the Panamera in the Porsche hierarchy; witness its now-confirmed UK starting prices of £115,858 for the Turbo (a Panamera Turbo, with 550hp, is £117,918) and £138,826 for the Turbo S, both excluding any grants that might be applicable. Anyway, the Taycan measures 4,959mm long with a 2.9-metre wheelbase, 1,958mm across the beam (excluding mirrors) and 1,380mm tall. Its exterior styling, which references other Porsches and has the usual four-point front DRLs/full-width rear bar light signatures, is nevertheless smooth and slippery. Porsche Active Aerodynamics - including active cooling flaps, flush door handles and a moveable rear spoiler - and a completely flat undertray which even covers the axles results in Porsche's lowest coefficient of drag figures for any of its products: between 0.22 and 0.24Cd. It also has two boots, an 82-litre item up front and a very useable 400-litre affair at the back, which can take six carry-on suitcases within it thanks to a deep well at the very back of the cargo area that allows two cases to stand upright with the hatch closed.

OK, what about the chassis dynamics?

It has a lot of hardware here. Both Taycan models obviously have the PTM AWD, as well as Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV+) with an electronically controlled limited-slip differential on the back axle, three-chamber air suspension, five driving modes (Range, Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual) and the possibility to have Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control with 48-volt anti-roll capabilities fitted. The Turbo S gains various other updates over the Turbo: it has 21-inch alloy wheels compared to the Turbo's 20s, these wrapped in high performance yet also low-rolling resistance tyres of 265/35 R21 front and 305/30 R21 rear sizes (Turbo: 245/45 R20 F, 285/40 R20 R); it also has Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) with 420mm front and 410mm rear diameter discs gripped by yellow callipers - these are ten piston at the front and four-pot at the back, details which are matched by the Turbo's white-painted callipers, but these grip Porsche Surface Coated Brake (PSCB) discs of 415mm and 365mm sizes instead; and the Turbo S has Rear Axle Steering as standard, while it'll be an option on the Turbo. You can fully expect more derivatives of the Taycan in the very near future; maybe things like a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive Taycan S, for example. Ah, and talking of the drive modes...


In Range and Sport Plus, the car drops by 22mm on its air suspension. This is to aid economy in Range and handling (by lowering the centre-of-gravity) in Sport Plus. Obviously, as you switch modes, the firmness of the damping and the steering and the position of the rear spoiler all change accordingly, while if you surpass either 56- or 112mph in the other modes, then the car will hunker down by 10- and then the full 22mm, respectively. However, while it has fully switchable Porsche Stability Management (On, Sport and Off), only in Range mode does the Taycan drop out of its preferred fully torque-variable (front to rear) 4WD. It is then 'demand-controlled' two-wheel drive, which means when you're driving in a straight line, and when it is 2WD... then it's the front axle doing the work. A FWD Porsche and an EV! Consider your preconceptions well and truly altered.

Anything else to add before we get onto your dynamic impressions?

As Columbo might say, just one more thing. Porsche knows sound is a 'brand-shaper' for the company; to whit, people purchase Porsches because of the noises they make. The Taycan doesn't have an emotive ICE like the rest of the German manufacturer's exotic range, so it might be at a disadvantage here - if it wasn't for PESS. This stands for Porsche Electric Sport Sound and it takes the Taycan's motors' audible exertions and amplifies them. It doesn't try to replicate any of Porsche's ICE greatest hits, it won't be customisable by owners and it is the Taycan's own, specific voice. We find this quite admirable of Porsche, we must say.

Right, so what does it feel like to travel in?

Brutal. Savage. Quite preposterously fast. Sampled as a passenger on the same event where we drove the 680hp/900Nm Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid a little later in the day, it managed to make the part-electric SUV feel ponderous and, dare we say it, a touch slow. It is comfortably, easily, far-and-away the most rapid-accelerating Porsche we've ever been in. The first time the test driver opened whatever counts for 'the taps' on an EV, our heads were rammed back into the seats' restraints and sitting forward again was only possible once he'd relented throttle pressure. The noise is good too, distinctive and electrical, albeit nothing like listening to a Porsche flat-six wailing into the night. Yet it's the chassis balance which astounds; even from the passenger seat, it's clear to tell the Taycan is a ridiculously well-sorted vehicle. It'll do all the sorts of opposite lock you could possibly want: a balletic drift on wet tarmac, violent spikes of power-oversteer out of tight bends, four-wheel neutrality when lifting mid-corner in faster curves... it feels like a true sports car, with grace and adjustability and no small amount of poise. It is also reasonably comfortable (this, admittedly, was a very small ride quality sample on surfaces not all-encompassing in their representation) and very quiet when you're not 'on it', so we have the suspicion Porsche is going to dynamically knock all of its EV rivals out of the park once the finished item is finally available for test drives. Yep, on this gobsmacking first evidence, it would seem that Porsche's grand EV plan is Mission (E) well and truly accomplished.

Matt Robinson - 4 Sep 2019

Earlier articles featuring 2020 Porsche Taycan

2019-08-22: Porsche digitises Taycan’s interior
2018-12-18: Porsche to cut EV charging times
2018-10-22: Tech details of the Porsche Taycan revealed

Porsche Taycan tech day. Image by Porsche.Porsche Taycan tech day. Image by Porsche.Porsche Taycan tech day. Image by Porsche.Porsche Taycan tech day. Image by Porsche.Porsche Taycan tech day. Image by Porsche.

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